The Sony SRS-XB43 is a well-built, portable speaker that you can use either horizontally or vertically. It has customizable lighting and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Unfortunately, even with its EXTRA BASS and Sony ClearAudio+ features activated, it has an uneven sound profile that struggles to reproduce low-bass. Its soundstage is uneven and narrow, too. However, the basic graphic EQ in the Sony Music Center app can help you customize its sound to your liking.
The Sony XB43 is fair for music. It has a balanced mid-range that's suitable for dialogue-centric content, but its underemphasized treble can make higher frequencies sound dull or veiled. Also, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, even with its EXTRA BASS setting turned on. Fortunately, you do have some ability to customize its sound to your liking using the graphic EQ in the Sony Music Center app. While it gets loud, its soundstage is quite narrow, and there's some compression present when you play it at max volume.
The Sony XB43 is middling for videos and movies. Even with its EXTRA BASS setting turned on, it struggles to produce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump in action-packed scenes. Its soundstage is narrow and directional, which doesn't create a very immersive listening experience. Fortunately, its latency with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth is low, so your audio should sync up with the images you see.
The Sony XB43 is decent for podcasts. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce vocals clearly, though its underemphasized treble range can make higher-frequency sounds a bit dull and veiled. You can adjust its sound profile using the EQ in the Sony Music Center app, however. It gets pretty loud, but unfortunately, there are some compression artifacts present when you play it at max volume.
The Sony XB43 is poor for voice assistant. It doesn't have any built-in voice assistant capabilities, so it just uses the system on your paired smartphone. As part of our methodology, we use recorded voice commands to test the speaker. However, the speaker didn't respond to some of these commands, even when there isn't any ambient noise present. While it responded to a normal speaking voice, this isn't part of our testing process.
The Sony XB43 is great for outdoor use. It has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It feels durable, and since it's battery-operated, it's very portable. It lasts around 15 hours off of a single charge, which is incredible, and there are lots of power-saving features available. However, its soundstage isn't very immersive, and there's some compression present when you play it at max volume.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has a similar design to the Sony SRS-XB33, but it's a bit bigger in size. It has a rectangular shape with passive radiators on each end. There are also lights on each side, and you can use the app to choose between lots of different colors. You can place this speaker either vertically or horizontally. It comes in several different colors, too.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is amazingly portable. It's small, and you can carry it with one hand. Also, since it's battery-powered, you can bring it outdoors without worrying about plugging it into an outlet.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has a very good build quality. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Overall, it has a durable feel, and the thick netting wrapping around most of the speaker doesn't seem like it could rip easily. There's also a rubber cover in the rear that protects the opening for the inputs.
The Sony SRS-XB43's controls are impressive. On top of the speaker, there are physical buttons that let you power it on/off, activate Bluetooth pairing, play/pause your audio, adjust the volume, and enter 'LIVE' or 'STAMINA' modes. The 'LIVE' mode is advertised to create a more immersive, 3D audio experience, and the 'STAMINA' mode can help save battery life. You can press the Play button twice to skip to the next track, and three times to skip to the previous track. The buttons are easy to press, and there are mini display lights on some of the buttons that show their status. On the back of the speaker, you can find the buttons for stereo pairing, Party Mode, and a Battery button that lets you activate the lights and hear the battery level of your speaker.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has alright frequency response accuracy. It has a balanced mid-range that can produce vocals and lead instruments clearly; however, some higher-frequency sounds can be a bit dull or veiled. Even with the 'EXTRA BASS' and 'Sony ClearAudio+' features enabled, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres. Fortunately, there's a graphic EQ in the Sony Music Center app to help you customize its sound to your liking. However, if you prefer a speaker with a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, check out the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6.
Note: By default, Sony ClearAudio+ is enabled when the EXTRA BASS feature is selected. The ClearAudio+ feature is advertised to automatically detect your audio content and adjust its sound field to better suit your audio. However, it can't be disabled if you just want to use the EXTRA BASS feature on its own.
The Sony SRS-XB43's soundstage is mediocre. Even though it's a stereo speaker, its directivity is poor. As a result, its soundstage is perceived as narrow and directional. Also, the overemphasis in the treble range can make the soundstage seem uneven. If you're looking for a similarly-sized speaker with a better soundstage performance, try the JBL Xtreme 3.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has adequate dynamics. It can get loud, making it suitable for use at parties. However, there are some compression artifacts present when you play it at max volume. For a speaker that can get louder with less compression, check out the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has an impressive battery performance. In our testing, it lasted for 15 hours off of a single charge, which is outstanding. The manufacturer advertises that it can last 24 hours off of a single charge if you set the volume to 31, turn off the lights, and activate STAMINA mode. That said, battery life can vary according to usage and whether you have EXTRA BASS or STAMINA MODE activated, so your experience may differ. The speaker also shuts off after 15 minutes without audio, which can help conserve its battery life. You can turn this power-saving feature off, too.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has a terrible voice assistant performance. It doesn't have any built-in voice assistant capabilities, so it just uses the voice assistants from your paired smartphone. As part of our methodology, we use recorded voice commands to test the speaker. However, it had some difficulty registering these commands, even when there isn't any ambient noise present. It can register commands from a normal speaking voice, but this isn't part of our testing process. For a speaker with built-in voice assistants, check out the Bose Portable Smart Speaker.
The Sony Music Center app is very good. There's a graphic EQ to help you customize the speaker's sound, as well as three sound settings: 'LIVE' helps reproduce a more three-dimensional audio experience, 'EXTRA BASS' gives a more bass-heavy sound, and 'STAMINA' is a power-saving feature. There are also DJ effect options in the app, including sound effects like isolator, notch, jet, and noise. You can also access the Fiestable app, with lets you control the party features of the speaker. You can even pair it with other speakers to create a stereo pair or cover a large area for a party.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has an AUX port that you can use to wire your smartphone to it to play audio. There's also a DC OUT ONLY USB-A port, which can charge a USB device, but you can't use it to playback audio. Also, there's an Audio IN jack.
The Sony SRS-XB43 has amazing Bluetooth connectivity. It supports multi-device pairing, so you can easily switch your audio source between your phone and your laptop. Also, you can touch your NFC-capable device to the speaker for quick Bluetooth pairing. Its latency with iOS and Android devices is low enough to be suitable for watching movies and videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.
The Sony SRS-XB43 Extra Bass comes in 'Black', 'Taupe', and 'Blue'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect the other color variants to perform similarly.
If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is a speaker from Sony's Extra Bass series. Like the Sony SRS-XB33, you can use it either horizontally or vertically. Even though it has an EXTRA BASS feature, it still struggles to reproduce low-bass, its overall sound profile is quite uneven, and its soundstage is very narrow. Fortunately, it offers a graphic EQ to help you customize its sound.
The JBL Xtreme 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The JBL has a better soundstage performance, resulting in a more immersive sound. It can also understand you more easily when using your smartphone's voice assistant. However, the Sony has a graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound profile.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is better for most uses than the Sony SRS-XB33. Though both speakers have an uneven sound profile out-of-the-box, the XB43's is better-balanced. It can also get louder. While the XB33 lists an IK rating for impact resistance, there isn't an IK rating specified for the XB43. Also, the XB33 has lower latency via Bluetooth with Android and iOS devices, though some apps compensate for latency, so your experience may vary.
The JBL Xtreme 3 and the Sony SRS-XB43 are similar speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is better-built and has a better soundstage performance. However, the Sony has longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants. Also, the Sony's graphic EQ allows for greater sound customization.
Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sony SRS-XB43 or the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6. The Sony is better-built with longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants from your smartphone. Also, its companion app offers a graphic EQ so you can customize its sound profile. However, the Harman/Kardon has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box.
The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The Ultimate Ears has a better soundstage performance, and its out-of-the-box sound profile is better-balanced. It also gets louder and has longer battery life. However, the Sony supports voice assistants from your smartphone, and it's smaller as well as better-built.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is a bit better than the Sony SRS-XB23. Both speakers have a somewhat uneven sound profile, but the XB43 has a more extended low-bass. It also gets louder, and it has longer battery life. While the XB23 lists an IK rating for impact resistance, the XB43 doesn't. The XB23 also has a better soundstage performance.
The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The Ultimate Ears is better-built and it has a wider soundstage. While the Sony's low-bass is more extended, the Ultimate Ears has a better-balanced treble range. The Sony gets louder, but the Ultimate Ears has less compression at max volume. However, the Sony supports voice assistants, unlike the Ultimate Ears, and it has a graphic EQ for sound customization.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is a better speaker for most uses than the Bose SoundLink Micro. While both speakers have uneven sound profiles out-of-the-box, the Sony's is better-balanced overall, and it offers a graphic EQ for sound customization. It can also play stereo content, unlike the Bose, and it gets louder and has longer battery life. However, the Bose has a wider, less directional soundstage.
The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The Bose has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, which can easily understand you, whereas the Sony relies on the voice assistant from your paired smartphone and struggles to understand you. The Bose is also smaller and more portable. However, the Sony has a full graphic EQ, while the Bose only comes with bass and treble sliders. The Sony's battery also lasts for fifteen hours, while the Bose has about a five-hour battery life.
The Sony SRS-RA3000 and the Sony SRS-XB43 have different strengths. While the SRS-RA3000 has a more natural and open-sounding soundstage, the SRS-XB43 is better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test this. It's battery-powered, making it more portable, and also supports voice assistants through your smartphone.